Advanced Business Writing
Presentation and Graphics
Again, to keep graphics and data interesting and clear, use three steps:
1. Choose the right graphic.
2. Support it with words.
3. Keep it simple.
Choose the right graphic (and do the graphic right).
To show differences among items:
use a Bar Chart
• Put scale on top or values on ends.
• Make spaces smaller than bar width.
• Shade the most important item (optional).
To show complex data:
use a Table Chart
• Verify the audience tolerates this format.
• Show time from left to right.
• Show magnitude or importance from top to bottom.
• Round numbers to 3 significant digits, or fewer.
Support it with words.
• Make labels easy to read.
Place them horizontally, even if you must shrink a graphic. When possible, use full words instead of abbreviations.
• Make the headline refer to the graphic.
Write the chart headline as if it were the heading of a newspaper article. Use dynamic words to summarize the main message of the chart, which should be about, or supported by, the graphic.
Keep it simple.
• Make one point per chart.
Omit extra data, graphics, or fonts that might distract the audience.
• Omit superfluous details.
Trim numbers to 2 or 3 significant digits. Avoid unnecessary grid lines, colors, and decorations.
Module: Presentation and Graphics
Course: Advanced Business Writing